Sunday, December 07, 2003

You Must Pay for the privilege

Sometimes it's difficult to figure out if commerce is making our lives easier or figuring new ways to rip us off. I dashed into a Taco Bell today to buy a quick dinner for the family and ran into a new twist. I didn't have enough cash with me so I was hoping they'd accept a credit card. When I asked the teenager-in-charge if his fine establishment would honor my credit card he pointed to an ATM machine near the doorway. The look on his face said he pitied my inability to just know these things.

Reading the hieroglyphics on the ATM I see that it does not dispense cash. One slides one's debit or credit card through the unit and asks for a credit at the cashier. It says you will get some change if your purchase is less than the credit you request. I was still reading all this when I noticed a small sign at the cashiers that advised that I would pay a $1.25 fee for using this "ATM". So I'm supposed to pay Taco Bell $1.25 so I can buy $8.00 of their refried beans? No thanks, I thought, and I left for the grocery next door. As I did I wondered if Taco Bell would find enough fools to make this system work. I hope not.

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